Author Topic: S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians  (Read 18417 times)

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Teenyweeny

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S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians
« on: October 02, 2013, 04:55:05 AM »
The recent thread on taking certain buffet items intended for children got me thinking about a party I was at recently.

The food was served buffet style, and there were probably about 30-35 people present, of whom I'd say 5-10 were veggie. The food was mainly BBQ food, and there was wayyyy more meat available for each of the meat eaters than any sane person could eat in one sitting (there were tons of leftovers).

There were also some veggie sausages/burgers available, but an amount which would give a more modest (but still fine) portion to each of the vegetarians (I took one sausage and one burger, I didn't see anybody take more than that, and they were all gone).

However, what I did see was a couple of guests (who I KNOW to be meat lovers) taking the veggie sausages because 'they just wanted to try one'. I didn't comment (because that would have been rude), but inside I was screaming 'Dude, there's a big pile of sausages that you can eat, right there. This smaller pile has to be shared between all the people who CANNOT eat the meaty sausages.'

I've felt the same at pizza parties when people are loading up on the one veggie pizza knowing that I can't eat the meat feast. This feels a bit weird since I suppose I'm sort of rooting for people to eat meat, but this is meat that these people will eat, eventually. They'll just be stuffed and I'll still be hungry!

Part of the problem lies in poor planning. When I planned parties (when I still ate meat), I make sure that most of the food was veggie so that everybody who wanted some could take enough to satisfy their stomachs.

I guess my question is: If you are NOT on a restricted diet, and there is clearly a smaller amount of 'special' items, is it rude to take some? I would say yes, at least until you are very sure that everybody has taken a reasonable amount (i.e. the party has got to the stage where people are just 'picking').



Miss Unleaded

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Re: S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2013, 06:03:53 AM »
The people I know are very different.  I can't think of a single occassion when omnivores would voluntarily eat vegie options to the point that there's none left for the vegetarians.  Provided there were additional dishes to eat (potato salad, rolls, devilled eggs, etc) I'd probably be happy to be in the company of people willing to experiment with new stuff.  If there wasn't additional food to compensate then I think that yes, it could be rude, but then again I wouldn't ordinarily expect that everyone in the crowd will know how many vegetarians are present and whether there is enough food to cover the numbers.

staceym

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Re: S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2013, 06:24:00 AM »
is is rude? Truthfully, unless there is a big sign that says "for vegetarians only" I'm going to have to say no, not really.  The food is put out with the other food so it is there for anyone.  But, like Miss Unleaded , I can't understand why an omnivore would eat a veggie option where there was a ton of meat available? 

I should clairfy the above when I mean veggie option - I mean veggie burgers/sausages/veggie meat of some kind.  Because I can understand people wanting the veggie pizza or a veggie dish.

But, I have to say since being in charge of ordering food for work events you can NEVER figure out what people are going to eat.  We use to order pizzas a lot for lunchtime meetings and I use to watch and see what was eaten and what wasn't and go by that the next time I ordered; but the next time - different results.  The other thing I will never do is order something (sandwiches in particular) thinking people will only take one - nope, not going to happen unless you police the food (yeah, that happened the first time I ordered sandwich rings  :-\ )  Or order say lasagna and chicken and order enough thinking people will take EITHER the chicken OR the lasagna - nope not going to happen some people will take both.


eta:  I just read the one post on the front of ehell about the OP taking a drink out of a cooler and was told "hey those are for kids only" - so yep, you can never tell who is going to take what.  And, in her case I don't think she was wrong at all to take it.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 06:32:35 AM by staceym »

Teenyweeny

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Re: S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2013, 06:38:49 AM »
I would feel differently if there was clearly an abundance of a particular food (e.g. there was lots of potato salad, which everybody could take), but when a particular item is clearly provided in a smaller amount, I think it's polite to think about why that might be, and to adjust what you take accordingly.

For me, it falls under the same basic rule of buffet etiquette that I think everybody should abide by: look at particular dish, divide by number of people who will be eating, and take ONLY that amount or less, at least initially.

If there are ten cupcakes and ten people, you don't take two straight away. Similarly, if there are 10 veggie sausages and 30 people, I'd think 'that's less than one per person, I'd better make sure that all the veggies get one before I take one'.



flickan

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Re: S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2013, 06:39:05 AM »
If you know there are people with restricted diets and you aren't on one then I think it is very rude to take from their available food if there is much less of that available.

In my family we have vegetarians and at gatherings we make sure to have multiple all-veg side dishes so vegetarians can get their fill.  My father will also cook up veggie patties or salmon patties on demand for those who don't want red meat.

Hosts should do their best to anticipate the needs of their guests but it's impossible to guess who will want what at the time if there are different groups of food for different diets.  I remember working a serving line for an event where the vegetarian entree was stuffed peppers.  No one had told anyone that the stuffed peppers were the vegetarian only option, consequently the servers (myself included) were handing out stuffed peppers to anyone who asked.  Once they realized they had a problem we were instructed to stop giving them out unless the guest had pre-requested a vegetarian meal.  I have no idea how that all turned out in the end but I assume they had to scramble to find more food.  Point being, there should have been clear instructions because it's unreasonable to expect omnivores not to eat a veggie option if they don't know it's in limited quantities for vegetarian guests.

The hosts should either set aside the vegetarian food clearly or make enough of the vegetarian food that there will be plenty for all.

And guests should use common sense based on the information they have.  It's a two-way effort.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 06:42:33 AM by flickan »

Another Sarah

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Re: S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2013, 06:47:29 AM »
I think there is a point here about using your common sense - I love veggie sausages, but if there was a mountain of meat and five veggie sausages on the side, I'd stick to the mountain of meat.
On the other hand, if there were heaps of both, I would take some of both.

I think standard buffet rules mean that you check the table. If there's a small amount of something, figure out why before you trough in, and if it's for a special reason, avoid.

edited- had whole other question so moving it to a new thread
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 06:52:17 AM by Another Sarah »

Psychopoesie

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Re: S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2013, 07:06:24 AM »
Last big bbq I went to, there were grilled portabello mushrooms with cream cheese as well as meat. It didn't occur to me that they were the vege option - they were just another side to me, like the salads - so I took one.

It's only when I overheard the host say later about how they were catering for vegetarians that the penny dropped - too late. Hopefully there were enough to go around.

If you only make enough of something for guests with a dietary restriction, it's best not to put it out with the rest of the food. Serve them separately instead.

Even better, make enough extra so no one is likely to miss out. Personally prefer to have too much food than too little.



Teenyweeny

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Re: S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2013, 07:16:29 AM »
If it matters, I brought the veggie sausages to the table at this gathering, and loudly annouced 'these are the veggie sausages' as I put them down.

I think if you have to 'hope there's enough' for others after you take one of something, then that's a sign that you should be thinking more deeply about why there is a smaller amount of that particular item. Maybe there's more on the way, maybe that item was intended for a group of people on a restricted diet (e.g. that's the dairy-free ice cream), but I think it's polite just to give a little bit of thought to the question.




Pen^2

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Re: S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2013, 07:40:57 AM »
A lot of vegetarian things taste completely different to meaty things, and are quite nice in their own right. So just because someone isn't adverse to eating meat doesn't mean they don't also enjoy vegetarian dishes.

But if there is clearly a limited amount of food available to people who are more restricted, then I wouldn't take any. I was at a dinner party recently where we ordered several dishes from a Thai place. Two happened to be vegetarian--one of them is a personal favourite of mine. It isn't a vegetarian version of a meat thing, but just a particularly delicious dish that happens to not have any meat in it. Even so, I asked the two vegetarians present if they'd mind if I had some, because I didn't know how hungry they were and if me taking any would mean they went home hungry.

Regardless of how good it tastes or what you prefer to eat, if you have other options available, then you shouldn't take food prepared for a specific group if it will mean that they won't get enough. Wanting to try it is all very good and well, but not if it means other people go hungry. That's not polite at all.

It's clear, OP, that the people at the gathering you described didn't think about the fact that they were preventing others from having enough food, so they must have needed clear instructions. It's good to prepare more than enough, but sometimes that just doesn't happen. In that kind of situation, maybe, after putting down the veggie sausages (or whatever), I'd just go straight out and say, "Here are the veggie sausages! If meat is an option for you, then please don't take these until you're sure the vegetarians among us have had their fill first. I'd hate to see anyone go hungry!" Or, depending on how the food was being served, I'd offer the dish specifically to each vegetarian in turn before putting it where others can help themselves.

MrTango

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Re: S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2013, 08:14:07 AM »
I'm of the opinion that any and all food on a buffet is part of the buffet and that what one chooses to put on their plate from that buffet line is no one else's business.

I'm also of the opinion that if there is a small minority of guests (or just one guest) with a dietary restriction that requires a special meal, that person's meal should be given directly to them by the host or they should be the first through the buffet line.

Knitterly

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Re: S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2013, 08:28:27 AM »
BBQs can be difficult, because you have to figure out how much food each person is going to want so you have enough without having a whole big bunch left over.

I think if you KNOW that a small group at the party is on a restricted diet and you knowingly bypass the food you can eat to take some of the food laid out for them, that's a bit inconsiderate.  Maybe not flat out rude, but definitely inconsiderate.

If you don't know, it's neither rude nor inconsiderate.

However, like others have said - if you find yourself wondering if it's okay to take from the smaller portion, a thoughtful and mindful person would stop to consider why there is so much less of this thing.  A well mannered and very thoughtful person would approach the host/ess quietly and ask if there's enough to try a bit.

So, maybe not flat out rude, but thoughtless to take food clearly meant for a few particular guests when there is lots of other food you can eat and they can't.


TootsNYC

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Re: S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2013, 08:47:48 AM »

However, what I did see was a couple of guests (who I KNOW to be meat lovers) taking the veggie sausages because 'they just wanted to try one'. I didn't comment (because that would have been rude), but inside I was screaming 'Dude, there's a big pile of sausages that you can eat, right there. This smaller pile has to be shared between all the people who CANNOT eat the meaty sausages.'


I think you could have said something. Your problem, perhaps, was in getting mad.
If you'd been free of the desire to scream, or the anger/annoyance that fueled it, you might have said, "Why don't you wait to try it until after all the vegetarians have gotten their first serving? It doesn't look like there are very many."

But yes, I think if it's not "your" cuisine, you must wait until everybody has had their firsts.

And yes, it's poor planning, but still, it sounds like there was enough for the vegetarians. I bet the host never imagined that other people would eat that food.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2013, 08:56:57 AM »
We have a couple of vegetarians in my office.  When we ordered pizza, there would be one veggie and the rest would all have meat of some sort, some all meat, some meat and veggies.  Drove me nuts that people would take the veggie and if the two vegetarians weren't near the front of the line, they wouldn't get at any.

We solved the problem by ordering two veggie pizzas and reducing the meat options by one.

I don't think it is rude to take any food that is on the main table and not specifically designated for a particular group.  It is thoughtless to not let that group get their options first and then take something if there are leftovers.  And it is rude to load up (ie: take more than one serving) on anything before everyone has had a chance to get something.

If I were a vegetarian, I'd be making darn sure I was near the front of the line.  It does drive me a bit crazy that the two vegetarians in our office don't do this - and at that point, if they don't get enough food, it is kind of their own fault.
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Zilla

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Re: S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2013, 09:03:05 AM »
I would leave the limited foods in the kitchen or a 'private' place and let the vegetarians know where it is.  I'm of a mind that all of it is up for grubs if it goes on the main tables.


It would be nice for people to stop look and analyze before taking things but honestly it's a party and not a serious time.  They aren't doing it to be spiteful or deprive people of something.  It's up to the host/ess to think about logistics.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 09:06:59 AM by Zilla »

gen xer

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Re: S/0 taking food for kids: taking food for vegetarians
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2013, 09:06:27 AM »
 I eat meat but there are many vegetarian dishes I enjoy too.  Honestly I would think at a buffet there is nothing off limits to anyone.  Now if it looks like something is running out then yes - it is rude to decimate the buffet.  Common courtesy requires us to be considerate of others...but it seems as though we are assuming that the guests should know and keep track of who is a strict vegetarian and how much food is left.

If there is that much of a concern that someone won't get fed then reserve a bit outside the buffet.  Other than that I think it would be a little rude to dictate who is allowed to take what.